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Personalized Medicine and U.S. Supreme Court’s Refusal to Nestle Patents
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The relatively closely watched case of Mayo Collaborative v. Prometheus (case 10-1150) was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on 21st February, against Nestle over patents. However, the consequences of the decision can change the rules of the game and suffocate profit motives and interests of pharmacy majors in the burgeoning field of personalized medicine.

The judges unanimously overruled an appeals court ruling that had allowed personalizing-test patents to Nestle SA unit Prometheus. The Supreme Court supported the original high court ruling that observations and processes to observe a natural phenomenon (in this case, events in the body of a patient) could not be patented.

In their 24-page decision, the Supreme Court observed “We conclude that the patent claims at issue here effectively claim the underlying laws of nature themselves. The claims are consequently invalid.”


The decision has been criticized in scathing words by the pharmacy majors. Hans Sauer, a counsel for Biotechnology Industry Organization told the media, “We are surprised and disappointed in the Court’s decision.”

Though recognizing the needs for incentives in scientific research and discovery, the Supreme Court, without mincing its words, held that “This court has repeatedly emphasized a concern that patent law not inhibit future discovery by improperly tying up the use of laws of nature and the like … Rewarding with patents those who discover laws of nature might encourage their discovery. But because those laws and principles are ‘the basic tools of scientific and technological work,’ … there is a danger that granting patents that tie up their use will inhibit future innovation.”

Personalized medicine lies at the core of all alternative medicine systems, which holds that each individual has a constitution significantly different from others to require personal dosage and not mass produced tablets. They were the first to promote that a mass produced capsule or dose is mostly, either more than or less than, what a patient needs – leading to chances of greater adverse side effects from those chemicals than from the actual ailments sought to be cured.

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Irrefutable evidence was grudgingly accepted by pharmacy mass manufacturers and in a bid to level the playing field, the concept of personalized medicine was introduced albeit with the Midas touch – patents and restrictions making the costs of personalized medicine sky high.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the attempts to hold patents over the methods of use and testing to ascertain personalized dosage, as claimed by Nestle’s Prometheus. This also dashes the hopes and interests of pharmacy giants in the field of personalized medicine once again. They admit that they are methodically poisoning the nation, and that personalized medicine is needed, but they are not interested in that unless they can make exorbitant profits from real needs.



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